Wisdom Teeth: What is Their Purpose?
Your wisdom teeth are your third molars: a set of molars that usually erupt into your mouth sometime between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five. They are the last teeth to come in and have been nicknamed “wisdom teeth” because they come in young adulthood.
Most of us associate wisdom teeth with pain. This is because most of the time, the wisdom teeth are extracted shortly after they come in. So this leaves us with the following question: what is the point of wisdom teeth? Anthropologists believe that the third molars or “wisdom teeth” were at one time necessary due to the rough diet of our ancestors. Our ancestors ate primarily coarse foods such as leaves, roots, nuts and meats. These foods required more chewing power and resulted in excessive wear and tear on the teeth. During this time period, by the time the third molars came in, the other sets of molars had been worn down quite a bit. This left room for third molars and made them necessary.
Today’s diet consists of softer foods. The invention of forks and knives has also cut down on the wear and tear on teeth considerably. As a result, the third molars are no longer needed. In fact, most people do not have room in their mouths for a third set of molars. If the “wisdom teeth” do not have enough room to erupt into the mouth and become fully functional teeth, they can become impacted. Failure to remove impacted teeth can lead to serious dental health problems such as overcrowding, periodontal disease and abscesses.
The good news is that the invention of anesthesia has made the process of wisdom teeth extraction a lot more comfortable. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, you do not need to be afraid. Failure to have impacted wisdom teeth removed can have significant negative consequences on your dental health. Schedule an appointment with an oral surgeon in your local area for a painless wisdom tooth extraction today!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Mac Worley, Mountain View Oral Surgery and Dental Implants